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Billy Joe: HBCUs on wrong side of college football’s racial trend

By Steven J. Gaither

Billy Joe is at it again. Last year, Joe penned an open letter about why money games were hurting black college football. Now, college football coaching legend has posted one another lengthy commentary calling for HBCUs to consider creating a national championship system due to the racial realities of today’s college football.

Joe’s post, which appears in its entirety on his Facebook page, goes into explicit detail as to why HBCUs have struggled in the FCS playoffs historically, and what he thinks possible solutions are.

“What is the problem? The problem is not enough quality talent on black college football teams. The racial landscape of football in America has changed dramatically over the last 56 years. Black college football programs are not capable of successfully recruiting the best black or white football players. Now, major historically white football institutions are recruiting five star, blue-chip black athletes in gargantuan numbers. For a variety of obvious reasons, black college football programs are not able to compete with the historically white institutions for the talents of those blue chip black athletes. Also, black college football programs have not been successful in recruiting talented white football players because of the stereo typical racial climate in the country. For that reason, white athletes are not receptive, at this time, to enrolling into black colleges in mass numbers. Therefore, the reciprocity paradigm is very unbalanced against black college football programs; black college football programs are losing their traditional black talent pool but are not receiving white players, or other ethnic groups to replace the loss of black talent.”

In one of the more interesting parts of Joe’s essay, he explains how integration has affected college football as a whole. We all know that HBCUs no longer get the best black players, but Joe argues that PWIs at lower levels are flush with higher talent than they would have had 50 or 60 years ago.

“Those great white football players who played for Ohio State University in 1957 are now playing for a phenomenal football program at the perennial national Division III champion, Mount Union. The great white football players of the University of Nebraska and University of Iowa teams of 1957 are currently playing for North Dakota State University and Montana State University. The great white football players of the 1957 University of Georgia team are now playing for Georgia Southern University and Valdosta State University football programs.The racial makeup of historically black and historically white football teams of 1957 are gone forever; and that’s progress for the country, but regression for black college football. Understandably, without question, black college football programs of the 1957 era would have dominated and FCS NCAA historically white football programs during that segregated and bigoted time period. Because those same black football players who started for Auburn University and Florida State University on January 6, 2014 would be playing for (Florida A&M University, Tennessee State University, Bethune Cookman University, Grambling State University, etc.) small black college football programs in 1957.”

As with Joe’s previous letter, this one is rather lengthy. But if you care about the future of HBCU football, it’s definitely worth the read.

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